More of the Music of Steely Dan
Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of Steely Dan
Countdown to Ecstasy was the first Steely Dan album I ever bought. The Rolling Stone raved about it in a review — this would have been sometime in 1973 — so I figured I had better find out what they were on about and pick up a copy. (Two years later, Rolling Stone would later rave about a new release from a band I had literally never heard of, Roxy Music. I went right down and picked up a copy of the album, Siren, and that record turned out to be a life-changing experience as well.)
I thought it was pretty good at first, not much more than that really, but I kept playing it and playing it and it wasn’t long before it became one of my favorite albums and Steely Dan one of my favorite bands.
A few years later, my bulk of my listening would be made up of music by Steely Dan, Roxy Music, Supertramp, Bowie, Ambrosia and 10cc. (Yes, no Beatles yet, I hadn’t come back around to them by then. I had to wait for the MoFi Beatles Box from 1982 and what I thought was its superior sound in order to fall in love with their music all over again. Little did I know…)
Then Pretzel Logic was released. I was living in San Diego at the time and I used to go into my local Tower Records across from the Sports Arena as often as I could, just to see what might have come out that week.
There they were. They had boxes full of them, laid out on the floor in front of the cash registers. I grabbed a copy, sped home and threw it on the turntable. As you might imagine, it proceeded to blow my mind, as would happen with Katy Lied and The Royal Scam and Aja when they came out in each of the following years. 
Records Like These
And it’s records like these that make us want to improve our stereo systems. I used to play the song Pretzel Logic to demo my system, but I can assure you that there is no way in the world I was reproducing the information on that record even a tenth as well I can now.
This is precisely what is supposed to drive this hobby — the plain and simple desire to get the music you love to sound better so that you can enjoy it more.
If you’re an audiophile, then by definition you love good sound. Pretzel Logic is a very well recorded album and it can have WONDERFUL sound.
Finding a copy of the album that was mastered and pressed properly is the hard part.
Learning how to really get the LP clean and putting together the kind of stereo that can play such a complex recording right are also difficult.
All three things combined require the expenditure of tens of thousands of dollars of money and the investment of many thousands of hours of time if the result is to be completely satisfying.
Countdown to Ecstasy checks off a few of our favorite boxes:
Countdown to Ecstasy is the very definition of the kind of Big Production Rock I have been listening to since I first fell in love with it back in the Seventies. That was about fifty years ago and I still play the album regularly for enjoyment. I have never tired of the music in all that time and I doubt I ever will.
I’m sure you have plenty of records you feel the same way about in your collection. This is one of mine.
Big Rock Records with Big Rock Sound
It is the very definition of a Big Speaker album. The better pressings have the kind of ENERGY in their grooves that are sure to have most audiophile systems begging for mercy.
This is The Audio Challenge that awaits you. If you don’t have a system designed to play records with this kind of SONIC POWER, don’t expect to hear them the way the band and those involved in the production wanted you to.
This album wants to rock your world, and that’s exactly what our Hot Stamper pressings are especially good at doing.
Steely Dan is one of the most influential and important artists/bands in my growth as a music lover and audiophile, joining the ranks of Roxy Music, 10cc, Ambrosia, Yes, Bowie, Supertramp, Eno, Talking Heads, Jethro Tull, Elton John, The Beatles, Crosby, Stills and Nash, The Cars, Led Zeppelin, Cat Stevens and countless others, musicians and bands who were clearly dedicated to making higher quality recordings, the kinds of recordings that could only truly come alive in the homes of those with the most advanced audio equipment.
My system was forced to evolve in order to reproduce the scores of challenging recordings issued by these groups in the ’70s.
It’s clear that these albums informed not only my taste in music, but the actual stereo I play that music on. It’s what Progress in Audio is all about. I created the system I have in order to play demanding recordings such as these, the music I fell in love with all those years ago.
 We are in the process of compiling a Must Own Rock, Pop, Etc. list for every year, and you can be sure that whichever Steely Dan album came out in from 1973 to 1977 will be on it. No serious Rock and Pop audiophile record collection should be without all of them. (Can’t Buy a Thrill and Gaucho are very good albums, but I would not exactly want to call them Must Owns unless except for fans.)